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Cockroach in fowl party

May 27, 2001
By Selwyn R. Cudjoe

POWER 102 announced its countdown to the June 3 elections while the newspapers bombard us with announcements of Carlos's infidelities. It seems as though he arrived too late for the dance. Jack Warner's dancing prowess is captured on the front page of the Sunday Express at the side of which is the headline: "Ramesh sets up legal team for UNC Elections." We are told: "Lawyers go after Carlos." Not to be outdone, the Sunday Guardian quotes Carlos as saying: "This campaign has become a public display of obscenity, vulgarity and a lot of hanging dirty linen in public" even though he paid thousands of dollars to register new members to help his election chances.

That was not all. Trevor Sudama declaims that although there are many rooms in the House of the Rising Sun, each must know his place or the room to which he has been assigned. The problem is that charmars sometimes forget their place. That is why a Maha Sabha spokesperson called for the formation of an Indian party. So that when Warner warns Carlos that "them fellars would be racial and nasty and kill," he could not be more correct. Whether he knows it or not, he said more than he intended to say. The killing of Prakash Maharaj, a UNC activist, in Tobago on Sunday night, perhaps a mere coincidence, is disturbing given the history of that party.

UNC has always been about bacchanal, racism, vulgarity, and the use of money to influence the outcome of elections. Never has there been an abundance of philosophical or theoretical insights about society and/or culture. Whatever the veneer, their cry for national unity boils down to race, bad mind and big money. It is a question of who ha' more corn feed more fowl. The more vulgar one is, the more one stands out in one's spiritual ugliness; the more rambunctious one is, the more one shines in a house of mediocrity. When Ralph Maraj warns of persons trying to buy the UNC's executive, the ordinary citizen asks: "So what's new in the House of the Rising Sun?" UNC has always been a commodity available to the highest bidder; an organisation into which one buys positions of influence and power. It has always been "in the hands of a cabal or a few financiers."

Their tentacles have also penetrated into the media, which, in this instance, have failed the public. The Sunday Guardian of May 20 looked like a UNC election rag. All of page 1, most of pages 3 and 4, all of pages 8, 9 and 10 were devoted to the UNC election. In none of those pages was there an in-depth look at the candidates or an analysis of what their candidacy may mean for the society. Instead, we are served with the pabulum: Long live the BAS. I was here first; you came second. You are of the wrong race; I have more money than you; have the lawyers ready for any eventuality. If necessary, employ legal terrorism. Don't call our PM a hypocrite! Even the PM admitted: these people talking chupidness and making fools of themselves.

If the media were on the case, they would have concentrated on substantive issues. Ramesh Maharaj observes, "If, for some reason, God forbid, something happened to M. Panday and some one had to fill his shoes, do you think any of the other candidates are ready to do so?" Instead, he should be asked if "he has the character to be the leader of this country?" I will not interfere with UNC party business because it is none of my business, but those who feel Maharaj can lead this country should examine his record again. They should know who Maharaj is and what he stands for.

In 1985 Maharaj was charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice. He was accused of submitting a forged affidavit purported to be signed by one Mervyn Hall. Hall was subsequently killed under questionable circumstances and the case against Maharaj was dismissed. When Clevon Raphael asked him about Hall in his interview, he evaded the question. In other words, he does not believe he has an obligation to clear the public's mind of any lingering suspicion it might have about his leadership ability. In 1986, he was charged with conspiracy to commit murder, his intended victim was Errol Spencer. Maharaj escaped conviction.

On February 6, 1987, the Scott Report was tabled in Parliament. The relevant part reads: "The Commission was informed that Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj made contact with the criminal element in the first part of last year when he was seeking to have revenge taken on one Spencer who had kicked and beaten him in a restaurant. Maharaj was deeply humiliated and said that he would pay any amount of money to deal with Spencer. The man who was to act on behalf of Maharaj was to obtain a car and a driver from Chaitram Gayah to carry out his mission.

Subsequently, Suruj Rambachan...was said to be insisting that the man be killed. The evidence also disclosed that Ramesh Maharaj had offered the "hit man" a .38 revolver and that he had given him sums of money from time to time…It is not known if the hit man eventually received the sum of $35,000 which he wanted."

Maharaj must clear the air on these concerns if he is to be considered a serious candidate for such high office.

Let us thank Warner for reminding us that appeals to racialism; indulging in nastiness; and the use of murder to achieve their ends is not beyond the UNC. Let us thank Sudama and the Maha Sabha for reminding Carlos that cockroach don't go to fowl party as Herbert Tyson from Diego Martin reminded me. Truly, they have come too far to turn black now. Ole talk to the contrary, their present performance suggests that black UNC members must stay in the back. Now we know in part.

Very soon we will understand fully that which has been hidden by media manipulation and public relations. Let not your heart be troubled.

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